A RAFT of work to improve an area of a busy town centre for pedestrians and cyclists has been completed.

The project in Ringwood comes ahead of the major scheme to replace the bridges and widen the A31 dual carriageway, which is due to start later this year.

Work between Hampshire County Council and Highways England in West Street has seen a number of changes including widening the footpath along the north side and building a new footway over the 'brick bridge'.

Highways England is planning further footway and cycleway improvements adjacent to its main scheme to improve capacity on the A31.

Bournemouth Echo: West Street in Ringwood. Picture: Highways EnglandWest Street in Ringwood. Picture: Highways England

Raluca Mitu, Highways England project manager, said: “We are delighted that these works have now concluded, and that the local community are already benefitting from the reduced traffic in Market Place and on West Street, as a result of the work. This is particularly evident when the market is running on Wednesdays. The Market sets up on both sides of the High Street and now customers have a safer environment to walk around without the constant flow of vehicles driving through to access the A31.

“The combination of the reduced traffic along West Street and the improved footways, signage and cycle path and has provided a place for families to walk and enjoy the local environment.”

The completed work included:

  • Widening the footpath along the west side of West Street to improve accessibility for cyclists and walkers
  • New kerbs and environmental planting
  • Building a new footpath over the ‘brick bridge’
  • Widening the footpath over the ‘old Stony’ bridge
  • Reversing the one way at The Furlong
  • Introducing new priority give way signs at both bridges to accompany the new and improved footpaths over them
  • Resurfacing both bridges
  • Laying new electrical cable along the length of West Street in advance of the main A31 work.
  • Closing access to the A31 from West Street and erecting signage on the A31 to advise drivers of the West Street closure.

Councillor Rob Humby, Hampshire County Council executive lead member for transport, said: “This is an excellent example of partnership working and I am pleased these works are now complete and the changes will improve safety for people living, working and travelling in the local area. Hampshire County Council has worked collaboratively with New Forest District Council and Ringwood Town Council to develop a programme of small-scale measures that support the Ringwood Town Access Plan. These measures will help improve pedestrian and cycle safety, while ensuring good access to the town remains after the closure of West Street.”

As reported, West Street access onto the A31 was removed by Highways England as a safety measure.

The £25million major roadworks scheme to widen the main road to three lanes on the westbound carriageway.